Walking & Talking Leads To Injuries, Bruised Egos

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News Posted: Tue, Jan 19 2010 9:56 PM
While distracted driving has certainly received a lot of attention lately, other distractions could also be dangerous. Distracted walking, for instance, is becoming another growing problem. Distracted walking combines a pedestrian, an electronic device, and an unseen danger such as a crack in the sidewalk, toy on the floor, or a car (parked or moving).

Although most of the injuries that result from distracted walking aren't near as serious as those that may result from distracted driving, the number of injuries are on the rise. Most of the time, the mishaps for distracted walking are minor—a broken fingernail, bumped head, jammed finger, or a sprained ankle. Many distracted walkers also experienced a bruised ego.

According to a study conducted by Ohio State University, slightly more than 1,000 pedestrians visited emergency rooms in 2008 because they got distracted and tripped, fell, or ran into something while using a cellphone to talk or text. This statistic had nearly doubled from 2007.



“It’s the tip of the iceberg,” said Jack L. Nasar, a professor of city and regional planning at Ohio State. Nasar also mentioned that the number of mishaps is likely much higher since most injuries don't actually require a hospital visit.

In the study, Derek Troyer, one of Nasar's graduate students, looked at records of emergency room visits compiled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. During his research, Troyer found examples of a 16-year-old-boy who walked into a telephone pole while texting and suffered a concussion as well as a 28-year-old man who tripped and fractured a finger on the hand gripping his cellphone. About half of the visits Troyer studied involved people under 30, and a quarter of them were between 16 and 20 years old.

So what is it that prevents us from multitasking while talking on the phone? Adam Gazzaley, a neuroscientist at the University of California, San Francisco, provides one possible explanation. He says a cellphone conversation taxes not just auditory resources in the brain but also visual functions. This combination prompts the listener to create visual imagery related to the conversation in a way that overrides the processing of real images. In addition, the cell phone gives people an opportunity to pursue goals that seem more important than walking down the street.
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gibbersome replied on Tue, Jan 19 2010 11:54 PM

"During his research, Troyer found examples of a 16-year-old-boy who walked into a telephone pole while texting and suffered a concussion"

I don't necessarily see that as a bad thing, it's evolution at work.

Kids injure themselves all the time, and usually for much stupider reasons. Otherwise, What can you do? Post signs like "Please don't text and walk" everywhere? People would just walk into them.

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Soupstyle replied on Tue, Jan 19 2010 11:59 PM

As long as they aren't texting while driving or flying or operating heavy machinery, I'm fine with it. If they are doing one of those and texting they should be fined or something, just because it is a hazard to other people, I think.

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gibbersome:

"During his research, Troyer found examples of a 16-year-old-boy who walked into a telephone pole while texting and suffered a concussion"

I don't necessarily see that as a bad thing, it's evolution at work.

Kids injure themselves all the time, and usually for much stupider reasons. Otherwise, What can you do? Post signs like "Please don't text and walk" everywhere? People would just walk into them.

You understand what a concussion is right?  Although it's not a serious brain injury, it is pretty intense for that to happen because of a phone. And for the record, kids don't always get concussions when they horse around.

Not sure if anyone has seen the show "1000 Ways to Die," on the show, they had a death involving a girl who was not paying attention while texting in a parking lot.  And of course the inevitable happened, she was hit by a car and obviously died (given by the name of the show.)

 

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gibbersome replied on Wed, Jan 20 2010 12:36 AM

"You understand what a concussion is right? Although it's not a serious brain injury, it is pretty intense for that to happen because of a phone. And for the record, kids don't always get concussions when they horse around."

Yes, I understand what a concussion is. I'm saying this news article is a bit of an overreaction. What percentage of teens text (I'd guess the number is close to 100%) and how many of them end up getting the concussions from it?

The chances of kids getting concussions from skateboarding, high school football, etc is much much higher. Doesn't mean we should outlaw both of those activities?

We can try to raise awareness about this issue by having speakers come to schools. Or maybe a blitz TV campaign. But there are other ways people get distracted. They're walking with someone else, or someone attractive of the opposite sex walks by, or walking and reading a book/newpaper/magazine, etc.

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rapid1 replied on Wed, Jan 20 2010 1:57 AM

Yeah Tebow got a concussion playing football on national TV so have probably 50 to 100 other professional and college players this year playing football. Many of them were getting paid for it. I think we should make an bluetooth device that automatically kicks you in the a77 when you do something stupid like crossing a street talking on a cell phone and paying no attention. I also think we should put low voltage electrical wiring in car seats and if your texting and driving zap. I bet it would only happen once no matter your age.

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I think it's also about knowing cell phone etiquette such don't talk on your cell phone when at the cashier or ordering food. If ever want to see people most distracted by their cell phones, either texting or talking on the phone while walking, visit Manhattan during lunch time on any given weekday.

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ClemSnide replied on Wed, Jan 20 2010 11:48 AM

I wouldn't be ashamed, really, to be injured while walking and talking on a cell phone.

The embarrassing incidents are all the injuries I've sustained while walking and chewing gum.


"I didn't cry when Bambi's mother was shot... but I cried when HAL was turned off."

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rapid1 replied on Wed, Jan 20 2010 1:16 PM

They should develop and auto black zone for cell communication at all stop lights. Then when you get at a stop light your phone would black out auto. This would also remedy the texting while driving or talking while driving as well.

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